DARLINGTON sounded a warning to FA Cup opponents Bristol Rovers with a well-deserved 2-0 win at Alfreton – their fourth successive away victory in league and Cup.

The game was a huge contrast in styles, with Alfreton adopting a route-one approach, while Quakers were content to knock the ball around and use their pace and movement to cause several problems for the opposition defence.

Manager Alun Armstrong, who is now looking for a continuation of this form against Bradford PA at Blackwell Meadows tomorrow, said; “What I loved about the performance when we weren’t taking our chances was that the back lads were ever so strong. We needed that ugliness, which was totally different to what we saw in our home game against Telford. I told them I needed a response, and they came back flying with it.

“They showed they’re capable of doing the ugly side, while on the other hand we’re always going to create chances given the quality that we’ve got up front.”

Quakers almost scored in the opening minute, when Dan Maguire had a close-range effort saved by keeper George Willis from an Adam Campbell cross, and Will Hatfield drove the rebound against the crossbar.

Their enterprising play led to them taking the lead on 11 minutes, when a great ball by Joe Wheatley allowed overlapping full back Tony McMahon to drive the ball into the six-yard box where Alfreton keeper George Willis failed to hold on to it, and Erico Sousa knocked in for his third goal since joining the club.

The pace of the visiting front three caused numerous problems for the home defence, but they didn’t create many clear-cut chances until the second half.

Maguire and sub Tyrone O’Neill, on for the injured Hatfield, both forced saves from Willis, while Sousa lobbed the keeper from 35 yards, but just wide of the target.

Those misses encouraged Alfreton, who with the wind and rain behind them, launched a late barrage. But Quakers caught their hosts with a classic counter-attack with eight minutes left. Campbell won possession midway inside his own half, set Sousa racing up the right, and he stroked the return pass beyond Willis.